***AP US History Thread - 2016-2017***

I am currently a high school freshman approaching the end of US History I. This fall, I’ll be starting AP US History… my 1st AP class, ever. I don’t really know what to expect, how much harder it will be, or how much work I’ll be getting. This may seem early, but I’ve already gotten summer assignments for the class and last years thread seemed pretty successful, so I would like to get a head start. Anyways, I’m hoping this thread can be where current students (and past students) can share tips and advice for success in this course.

I just had to read a biography of one of the founding fathers or choose from a list of books. I picked Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow because it inspired the musical (I’m looking for a mind at work, work!—>So catchy!!! :(() and I wanted to know what everyone is raving on about. After that I have to write a 2-3 page book review and submit it to my teacher before school starts. I’m already buying Ethel Wood’s APUSH coursebook. Her prep books are the only ones I trust!

APUSH is the best class ever. My history teacher calls us a couple days before school starts to assign an essay due on the first day of school. My school supplies all of our prep books, thank goodness! I’m an ingoing junior!

Ok, I will look in to getting Ethel Wood’s prep book. I’m also planning on getting one of those giant flashcard sets to review for the exam. I think my school supplies the AMSCO prep book, thankfully.

Amazon link to the flashcard set? @shanemg.11

@codemachine https://www.amazon.com/Barrons-History-Flash-Cards-3rd/dp/1438076096/ref=dp_ob_title_bk

@shanemg.11 That’s interesting. I’m taking APUSH as a Junior and took APWH last year. Does your school offer APWH?

@darkcrescendo No, my school unfortunately doesn’t offer APWH… only World History II for some odd reason, with no World History I. APUSH at my school is typically taken in sophomore year, and taken for two semesters. My school also offers US History I & II, and AP US Government/Politics.

Really? You guys have summer assignments for APUSH?

Took APUSH this year, scored 5.

Used the Princeton Review book… would not recommend (too wordy, focuses on some events but not others. Not good for studying for the AP exam, DEFINITELY not good for studying for the class).

Quite honestly I didn’t study as much as many other people when it came to the test (since APUSH was one of three of my APs this year).

For the class, the best thing you can do for yourself is read the textbook. If you’re going to watch Adam Norris, do it as review - not as as substitute for the book like many people seem to do!

When you review for the tests, be it the AP exam or class tests, don’t reread and flashcards… Focus on larger thematic elements and how things are connected. The Brinkley book offered a couple critical thinking questions at the beginning of many chapters, some of which were pretty much on the AP exam verbatim (e.g, this year, compare/contrast the goals of the spanish and british colonies)

This is what worked for me… Will it work for you? Maybe :smiley:

This is a class that is much harder than the exam… By the time you get to the exam you are likely overprepared especially if this is your only AP class and you are a sophomore


Yeah, it kinda sucks we have summer assignments… but I expected it when I signed up for the class, so I guess I’ll just have to deal with it.

But anyways thank you for your advice. Your idea of focusing on how things are connected seems like it will be quite helpful. Is this Adam Norris person on Youtube?

Hi there! I saw your post on the 2015-2016 apush threat and I decided to add in some tips too! (I got a 5)

I had an amazing teacher who made what he called “clouds” for each chapter of the book. Clouds were basically like his version of notes, in which he wrote out the details of each chapter in chronological order but made them simple and easy to comprehend. He also had us memorize a lot of mnemonic devices for each chapter that I was reciting during the AP test! I hardly ever read the textbook we were given.

I did use 5 Steps to a 5 a few weeks before the test just to highlight the most important information from each event and refresh my memory, but its imperative you already have a solid foundation from the rest of the year.

So my main advice to you taking APUSH this year is to DECODE EACH CHAPTER into the most meaningful chunks of information, and try to UNDERSTAND everything rather than just memorize it. Like @1650mile mentioned, try to connect all the larger themes together! Also, one of the things that helped me the most with the FRQ and DBQ was just pre-prepping all the practice prompts that were in different APUSH study books. (edit: by pre-prep I mean writing a hook, overview, thesis and brainstorming your three paragraphs for each prompt)

i loved APUSH and I hope you guys will too! Good luck :slight_smile:

@lamebridge Thank you for your help! What is 5 Steps to a 5 though? Is it a review book?

I took APUSH last year and just scored a 5 :slight_smile:

My advice would be to read the textbook and take good notes. Seems cliche but this is what helped me the most, I was stressing about our school ACT so I didn’t even start studying for this test until a week before and I did just fine because I had the big pictures memorized. I would definitely use a review book so you can refresh on early topics from the beginning of the year, and watching some youtube videos is always helpful too.

Best of luck to all of you taking APUSH this year, you will all do great!

@Matthew234 Thanks :slight_smile:

@shanemg.11 yes, it’s another brand of AP test review books similar to Princeton Review and Baron’s; you could use any review book though, doesn’t have to specifically be 5 Steps to a 5 :slight_smile: (although I heard the crash course books for apush aren’t great so I wouldn’t recommend it)

Hello brave APUSHers. I took APUSH during the 2015-2016 school year (walked out with a 98 in the class and a 4 on the exam) and it was honestly the best year of my life. I’m not going to lie and say it won’t be hard because those DBQs are no joke. My advice is to stay organized and push yourself. If your class is anything like mine was there will be 30 kids with 30 completely different approaches to history and that’s the joy of APUSH. APUSH is NOT about learning facts and regurgitating them for a grade. APUSH teaches students to analyze and form opinions and stand up for their opinions even if they know they’re wrong. So, find out your stance and fight it. Do the reading assignments. Buy an AMSCO and a 5 Step to a 5. Take lots of practice essays and exams. If you have to do Cornell notes actually do them because they will save you so much in the long run. Our teacher made us make a Presidential Scrapbook where we had to learn basically everything under/during each president’s administration and that was a huge help when it came to outside information and periodization. Find a period that you love and learn as much about it as you can because basically every period can be directly tied to another one and that is really important for synthesizing. Lastly, remember to be patient and thank your teachers repetitively because as stressed as you will learning over 500 years of history they will be stressed ten times that. APUSH is a crazy ride of emotions and because you have chosen to embark on this wild journey you are already a winner. God speed mate!

@Prayin4a34 Thanks mate! Does the College Board site have these practice exams/tests?

There is one set of practice SBMC and then there are a lot of SAQ, DBQs, and LEQs online. Do some digging and be prepared!

Hey there- I’d like to help you out with summer prep and studying :slight_smile:
I took AP US History this year (5 on exam like most people) and succeeded in the class through mainly four ways:

  1. Buying the AMSCO US History prep book on Amazon. It’s about 30 dollars new and 15 dollars used. This is can perfectly serve as the SOLE source of information you need for the class and the May examination. It covers all periods with concise and well-organized information, and has great MCQs and practice FRQs.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/United-States-History-Preparing-Examination/dp/1682404552/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1467994404&sr=8-1&keywords=AMSCO+us+history

  1. Watching Adam Norris on youtube: he is a high school teacher that has been teaching US history for longer than you were born. lol. Great information that is chronologically ordered, and good presentation slides. My suggestion is to take notes while watching his vids.

  2. Read books about American history. It will help kill time if you’re bored and help you understand some of the major themes in APUSH. Some recommendations of mine: Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, Overthrow: A century of regime change by Stephen Kinzer.

  3. Going on the official college board website and downloading the official practice exams and other released free response questions including essay prompt sand DBQs. This helped a ton!! Do this now if you haven’t

Not buying other prep books (Princeton Review, Barrons, Barrons flash cards) because really AMSCO is the only source of information you need for this class, maybe plus American Pageant 13th Ed. if your school offers that. Other books like 5 steps to a 5, REA Crash Course, is great too but it’s a waste of money if you have a teacher, a class, and AMSCO.

@stopros222 Thanks so much for your help! I will definitely look into getting those books you suggested. I’m pretty sure my school supplies the AMSCO book, but I’m not sure what textbook they use (if they even use one).